Monday, 4 June 2018

Falling in Love - Donna Leon

This is another of my library books. I am pleased that I am maintaining my resolution of using the library more. 

My brother is a self confessed italianophile. He lived in Italy for a year and fell in love with the country but most particularly Venice to which he returns as often as time and finances allow. Not surprisingly his penchant for all things Italian extends to fiction too, especially crime fiction. and it was he who recommended Donna Leon’s books to me. I was pleased to find this one nestling on the library shelves.

From that you will correctly deduce that this is the first Brunetti novel I have read so I have nothing to compare it to. The first thing that struck me was that I was clearly reading a translation and I think there were some inconsistencies with things like police ranks. It didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of the book but it was enough to make me notice. 

The crime concerns one of stalking and obsession. It becomes quite chilling towards the book’s conclusion. More broadly the novel examines contemporary Venetian society and I wondered at one point if the opera Tosca was a metaphor for the decline of that but on reflection that is maybe too far fetched. I enjoyed the descriptions of Venice and the way the writer brought the city alive acknowledging an historical Venice and the contemporary Venice.

I enjoyed the book overall. I did warm to Brunetti and as a character he seems well defined and I’m sure I would have benefitted from reading some of the others in the series to know him better.  But I was not overwhelmed by the book. I didn’t feel it touched any new ground or even supported an original scenario. But maybe I expect too much! It was a pleasurable read with a relatively easy, flowing narrative given that it was a translation. I found the title a little ambiguous or maybe it was ironic or maybe it was something that was lost in translation. 

I won’t be rushing to add any more to my TBR shelves but I won’t rule out reading at least another should it come my way. 

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